Trusted Most—Men with Guns
Public confidence in Congress has
plummeted to the lowest level of any
institution since Gallup began asking the question
in 1973. One-half of all Americans have little or no
confidence in the Congress.
Only 11 percent have a
or "a lot of"
confidence in what is, given its place of primacy in the
Constitution, the first branch of government and the
branch most representative of the people.
The house of such giants as Daniel
Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun and Henry Cabot Lodge,
the greatest legislative body in the world that was home
John F. Kennedy`s
"Profiles in Courage" who decided the questions
of war and peace,
civil rights is now looked upon with pervasive
Of the 16 major institutions of
which the question was asked, Congress` closest
competitor for the least trusted was HMOs.
Not only is this bad news for the
Democratic Party this fall, it is reflective of the
disdain if not contempt in which the nation`s political
class is held by those they govern. Three times as many
Americans have confidence in the Supreme Court as have
And though Obama has been through a
rough patch, three times as many Americans retain
confidence in his office as have confidence in the
Congress. Even when Bush was at his nadir, in 2008, 26
percent professed a high level of confidence in the
presidency, more than twice those who today have
confidence in the institution led by Nancy Pelosi and
This would also seem to be bad news
for democracy, as the closest competitor to Congress in
public disregard was the 2008 Congress that enjoyed the
trust of only one in eight Americans.
But the poll reveals even more
about us as a people.
Only three institutions of the 16
have the solid confidence of the nation with more than
50 percent saying they have high confidence or a lot of
confidence in them: the
military at 76 percent, down from 82 percent a year
ago, small business at 66 percent and the
police at 58 percent.
All three institutions tend to be
male-dominated, conservative and hierarchical. Two of
the three feature men with guns—the
airmen who defend us from foreign enemies, and the
thin blue line that defends us from the predators at
home. Americans have a far greater appreciation of those
who risk their lives to defend our country than for
those who write its laws.
When one recalls how the military
and police were regarded in the 1960s, the former being
trashed for "the
dirty and immoral war" in
Vietnam, and the latter being called
battling campus radicals and urban rioters, what a
difference a few decades can make.
What these surveys suggest is that
the New Left of the 1960s was and is over-represented in
the media depictions of that era. Some baby boomers were
indeed in the mud at Woodstock. But
others were in the mud at Khe Sanh. And large
majorities of baby boomers helped deliver to
Reagan his historic landslides in 1980 and 1984.
Half of all Americans yet retain
confidence in organized religion, an institution not
wildly popular with our cultural and media elites. Yet,
the churches retain twice the level of confidence of the
newspapers, and more than twice the level of
television news, which ranks just below
at 22 percent.
This explains why the public is
less enthusiastic than the press about enacting
to protect journalists` sources.
While the number of those having a
high measure of confidence in the medical system has
risen from 36 percent to 40 percent during this year of
debate on health care, confidence in the public schools
fell from 38 percent to 34 percent. Despite immense
infusions of federal cash, the public schools are still
bleeding public esteem.
If one takes only those
institutions generally regarded as liberal and
Democratic—newspapers, TV news, unions and Congress, not
one enjoys the high confidence of even half of those
Americans who have confidence in the church and
religion. Even the honored office Obama occupies has
lost one-fourth of the confidence it inspired a year
In short, the Gallup Poll showing
soldiers, small businesses, cops, preachers and pastors
to be trusted, while journalists, bankers, big business,
unions and congressmen are not mirrors the message of
polls showing that conservatives now outnumber liberals
Those institutions in society
perceived as dominated by liberals are also, perhaps not
coincidentally, the least trusted in the land.
The pendulum is swinging back.
CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
Patrick J. Buchanan
no introduction to
VDARE.COM readers; his book State
of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and
Conquest of America, can
be ordered from Amazon.com. His latest book
Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How
Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost
Paul Craig Roberts.